Today in 2007, a classic tennis match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, two of the all time greats.
Certainly it wasn’t the only time these two have played each other; they’ve had some of the most memorable matches in all of tennis history.
But this one was unusual even for them, because the court was made of two different surfaces.
The professional tennis circuit has tournaments on multiple surfaces.
Many are on hard courts, made of concrete.
Other tournaments are on a clay-based surface, and Wimbledon is famously played on grass.
(The sport was originally called lawn tennis, after all.)
In 2007, Roger Federer had won Wimbledon four times in a row.
He would win his fifth title there later that year, and three more down the road.
He was the king of grass court tennis.
Nadal, meanwhile, had become a juggernaut on clay courts.
He has become the most successful men’s player in French Open history by far.
So the two took part in an exhibition match where one side of the court was grass, and the other clay, billed as the “battle of the surfaces.”
Though for the groundskeepers, installing the turf became a battle with worms, at least at first.
The two players still switched sides at times during the match.
They got a little extra time to change from their grass court shoes to their clay court ones, and vice versa.
But the challenge of this match wasn’t just about footwear.
Tennis balls bounce higher on clay courts than on grass ones, so a player’s mechanics and timing have to be different on different surfaces.
It’s hard enough to adjust in the course of a year of tennis, but imagine doing it within a single match!
The two champions split the early sets, before ending up in a final set tie-break which Nadal won 12-10.
But both played well in the unusual contest, and, suffice to say, both players have done pretty well for themselves since then, on grass, clay and anywhere else they’ve gone.
On this day in 1929, guitarist Link Wray was born.
His first big hit “Rumble” was banned by many radio stations, even though it was an instrumental.
The song got its name because those who heard Wray’s guitar work thought it sounded like a gang fight.
Even with no words, the radio execs thought it might contribute to juvenile delinquency.
Guitarist Link Wray Dies (Rolling Stone)